DAIL EIREANN. Dail Eireann (literally, assembly of Ireland*) emerged from the Sinn Fein* convention of October 1917, which made independence from Britain its priority. The Dail assembled on January 21, 1919, attended by Sinn Fein representatives who had been returned at the general election of December 1919. Their intention was to publicize their movement through open proceedings. When the first Dail assembled at the Mansion House in Dublin, there were twenty-seven Sinn Fein representatives present; thirty-four had been imprisoned since before the election while eight others were unable to attend for other reasons. Cathal Brugha was declared acting president in the absence of Eamon de Valera,* president of Sinn Fein, who was in prison at Lincoln. Those present at the opening sessions approved the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Democratic Programme, and "A Message to the Nations of the World."
The second session was held April 1. De Valera was elected president; on April 4, Micheal Collins,* the minister for finance, issued "republican bonds" to raise £250,000. Britain responded (July 4) with a proclamation to suppress Sinn Fein, the Irish Volunteers,* the (Women's) Auxiliary of the Irish Volunteers, and the Gaelic League* on grounds that they were illegal. On August 20, Brugha proposed a motion that every deputy, officer, and clerk of the Dail, and each member of the Irish Volunteers should swear allegiance to the Dail and the Irish Republic. This oath turned the Volunteers into the Irish Republican Army* (IRA). In early September 1919, the British government declared the Dail to be an illegal assembly and a dangerous association. Its ministers performed their duties as best they could. The first Dail established arbitration courts to resolve agrarian disputes, land banks to advance funds to farmers, a consular service, a National Commission of Inquiry into the Industrial Resources